2011-2016: Brief synopsis of my journey:
2009 I enrolled at American River College with one purpose in mind, to learn to build my own web site. I had just returned from a 6 month adventure working in the oil fields of Wyoming (2008) where I had gone to work in order to save my home and my business. My daughter moved into my place with her son, and she took over the clinic.
Once this web site was completed and loaded to the internet, I decided to continue my education at American River College. It was clear to me that I wasn’t going to be able to save my home, and the stress and worry were overwhelming. College was the diversions I needed to help me stay sane while going through this devastation.
I changed majors and enrolled in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts. American River College. It was very stressful. I took 23 units each semester and prayed hourly to (what I call God) Divine Mother to help me get through each and every class. When I wasn’t studying I was praying. Literally. I had many many issues to resolve and this was the only way I knew to help get clarity and resolve.
It must have worked because I pulled a 3.8 gpa and I am not that smart. December 2011 I was evicted, like millions of Americans. My best friend Jake had gone to sleep Oct 28, 2011 and I was now alone. My business was gone. Everything was in storage, and there was no time to grieve.
A woman from Chruch learned of my plight and gave me a room to live in. It was a lovely room in Fair Oaks. It had a toilet and a sink but not a shower. I had my own entry. I use the PE department gym to shower which was great as long as the school was open. Because I was in culinary arts, food was readily available.
I nearly graduated in 2012. I say nearly because the last two classes I need were not conducive to my health or integrity. “ Back of the House” was one of them. This is when you are actually working in the kitchen and being a chef. The manager of that class was a big round man about 40 yr of age. He was downright mean. He didn’t like me. He called me filthy names and threatened me. His name was James. He was so vial and threatening that the director of the college gave me my grades in advance and excused me from the last 2 weeks from all classes. I don’t know if James is still there but he was no one to contend with so I took the offer and didn’t return. The 2nd class I needed in order to graduate was Nutrition. I enrolled in this class and the 1st day I knew I was in trouble. The instructor, an Asian woman, was saying it is ok to drink diet sodas for breakfast if you are diabetic, and expressed to the class that no one in their right mind would eat an avocado for breakfast regardless of how good it was for them. I did! I ate them with eggs.
Needless to say could not compromise my values by “playing the game” for a grade. I later summer of 2015, became a Whole Food Plant Based Nutritionist from Cornell University. T. Colin Campbell was the director. He wrote: The China Study and produced the documentary: Forks over Knives.
Summer of 2012 a few days after the summer semester ended, I packed up the remaining items, put them in my storage unit in Rio Linda, dropped my car off with a client/friend who lived in the country and went to the airport. I slept that night in the airport waiting for my flight to Ecuador. I had 3 suit cases including my Kangen water system and my prayers.
I had never been to Ecuador but for several years I had been researching places to live. It was frightening to leave everything I knew and go to a foreign land. I knew 2 people. Neda who I met via internet, who at that time lived in Quito and Cameran who ran the BnB that I was going to stay with in Cuenca.
It wasn’t easy, but I made it. I stayed with Neda for a few days then took a puddle jumper flight to Cameran’s place. She wasn’t very helpful or kind. I managed to figure things out and find my way around. I have a lifelong souvenir that I acquired my 1st week in Cuenca. On June 20th, 2012 the day after my birthday and after a fun night of salsa dancing to celebrate, I slip on a small hill and broke my wrist. That wasn’t the worst part; because my body heals very quickly due to my continued healthy life style I knew I would be ok. However the MD at the hospital who was in charge set or I should say didn’t set my arm correctly. I now have 3 bones that protrude from my wrist and yes, it hurts all the time. It took over a year of constant physical therapy (my own) to be able to use my hand in a somewhat normal way.
After 3 months with Cameron and being mistreated and cursed at, I found a room with a couple that had a little girl. Two months later I found a huge apartment and moved in to my own place.
THE mother of invention. Out of desperation to find a bakery that made good pies I started my own pie company. American-pie.US It was very very difficult work. In order to go anywhere in this town most xpats took either a taxi or bus. I found out right away that taking a taxi was way too expensive and I didn’t trust them and didn’t like the double standard of arbitrary fare rates. So for .25 I took the bus or I walked. I did manage to get a shopping cart. I found a folding red cart on Amazon. It cost about $50.00. However, it took 3 months and days of paperwork and 3 or 4 different offices and notaries to get it in from customs plus another $150.00. But I needed it. Example. The open market was about a little over a mile from where I lived. I took my cart and walked to the market, bought the food I needed and rolled it all home. To get the squash to make pumpkin pie, called a callabas, I had to have it cut in half with a machete and loaded in the cart. Each half weighted about 10# or more. Once I got it home and lucky if the elevator worked, I would then cut up each half into smaller pieces and bake them.
Oh, another thing.. I had to buy my own oven as most apartments don’t have one. Once the pumpkin was cooked I then had to put it in my processor and then scoop it out and put it in bags to freeze. Every item I used to makes pies came from the market. I found a place that delivered raw organic cream and milk. That was after I use to travel by bus 3 bus transfers and an hr each way. I couldn’t carry much milk at any one time, so I was delighted when I could get delivery service.
Oh, yeah.. Milk comes in a pouch not a box. Ecuadorian flour is another interesting thing. All flour has baking powder in it. Why? Because no one is allowed to buy the baking powder separately. I think that is why I didn’t like their pastries in that country they all taste the same. I had to search for a way to get flour for my pies without this in it. (it could be baking soda I can’t remember) BUT the reason it isn’t sold separately is because it is use to make cocaine or crack or something.
The little pie business was somewhat successful. I also had a BnB. That was nice because I met people from all over the world. After about a year I shut it down because the IRS got nosey. TRUTH!!
It was very stressful trying to get my immigration papers and what they call a cedula. It took me a year to go through the process. At one point, I had to go to Peru for a few days and come back into the Ecuador to get a 3 months extension. Most of my friends knew the struggles I had getting this done, so when the day came that I got my cedula, I threw a party of all parties. It was also my birthday so we celebrated in a big way. I made a ton of food and pie deserts and everyone came and brought such good food to share. There was over 80 people at this event. To this day, 4 yrs later I still hear comments about this being the BEST and most FUN that the xpats ever attended in Cuenca.
The owners of the apartment came back from Spain and wanted to move back into the apartment I was renting. I had just made plans to go to the US for 3 months and we decided I would stay until they came back. However, while I was away, they let the power get turned off even though I had paid the rent in advance for 3 months and made arrangements with the utility companies for all the bills to be paid. The owner refused to help me therefore when I returned all the pie products that I had worked so hard to preserve in the freezer was ruined. The milks, the creams, the butter, the berries, pumpkin… all of it!!! Hundreds of dollars’ worth of product were lost. I didn’t have the heart to start over.
Not only was the landlord negligent in supporting me and taking care of my place, (he wouldn’t let anyone I know come in to help watch over my apartment while I was gone) but the guard also was a doozie. He stole from me, he lied about me, he harassed all my clients (except the ones who tipped him) and he caused a great deal of problems with my landlord. It was time to leave.
I had tried to help a man who was a chef in Cuence. I let him stay with me for a few weeks while we set him up in business as a home delivery Mexican Food service. We worked very hard on getting this set up. I set out flyers and emails. He was getting ready to purchase the food and start cooking. We were going to be ready for customers to pick up their food the following week end. THEN he got angry over something and bam.. I ended up in the hospital with cracked ribs. Yep… another trip to the hospital. My dear friend and Spanish teacher who was also one of the BEST attorneys in Cuenca helped me when everyone else was saying, “that’s just how it is in this country, no court or cop will help you.”. We went after him. But he fled. I found out 2 yrs later that he was murdered. Not surprising. He was a very violent person.
It took me a month to sell most of my things; furniture, dishes, bedding, everything. I still have a beautiful table set in Cuenca, and if I ever had the $, and a home to put it in, I would bring it here. I have never seen a more beautiful table set.
In 2014 I moved back to California. I had no place to live. I stayed in my car for a while, and then my daughter invited me to stay with her and my grandson. I had a couch to sleep on. It was furniture from my home on Orchard Lane. I found some part time work and tried to improve my life while helping my daughter and grandson. It was fun cooking for them and being with my family. In December 8 months later we had heavy rains in the Fair Oaks area and our apartment was flooded. We lost our apartment due to the high level of the water that poured through our place. I spent the entire month helping pack up her apartment while she moved to Stockton (she later got married and continues to live in Stockton), and my grandson moved in with a school friend and family. I had nowhere to go so I went to Idaho.
That turned out to be a disaster. I was living with my son and their sick kids, so after spending Christmas in a hotel room sick and alone. The next day I went back to Sacramento. I was living in my car again.
December 2015: My eldest daughter had a shed in their back yard and offered it to me to live in. I was out of my car and into a place with a roof. No plumbing, no water but it was comfortable and safe.
March 2015: Deadly allergy season was upon me!!! I was sick and dying. I had to make a decision so rather than lay in a bed in a shed and die with asthma and phenomena due to allergic reaction to pollen, I drug myself around until I had my car fully packed and functional and drove to Santa Cruz. My eyes were so swollen I could barely see. The skin on my face had tiny bleeding cuts. I could hardly breathe. I was so weak and tired but I couldn’t stay a day longer. I had to get to the ocean and breathe pollen free air. Once I landed in Santa Cruz I found a place near a park. It was raining hard. I loved it. I was woke up in the early morning by a cop and told I couldn’t sleep in my car. I then asked him, “Can I come to your home and sleep?” He was kind and said no and I proceeded to move my car. It was the beginning of my car camping. It wasn’t long and I found a place called Grey Bears and started doing volunteer work for them. I was able to get free food which came in from Costco, Safeway, and Trader Joes etc. At night I found what I call the “street people” and gave them food. I also worked as a volunteer for a senior center as a cook one night a week and one Sunday a month. I was very happy to be able to find work, be functional and have enough to share with the truly needy. I will always be grateful for Safeway stores and Taco bell. These places either are open all night or open very early and stay open late. Giving people like me a place to use the bathroom and clean up a bit.
The biggest challenge I faced was getting a shower and washing my hair. After 3 weeks of not bathing I was feeling very uncomfortable. I found a KOA camp ground outside of Aptos. I went in and asked if I could buy a shower. I was told no. I left the office crying. I had no idea what or where to go. A large I think he was African American man of about 30 came up to me, he was one of the clerks in the office/store and said, “just drive up to the showers and act like you live here.” I hugged him so hard while trying to hold back the tears. I was then able to get a shower and wash my hair.
It was long that I met a lovely college student named Christie at Aptos coffee shop. She told me about Cabrillo Fitness center. For $35 a month I could have unlimited access to the club. Wow.. Showers, Jacuzzi, sauna, and a semi salt water pool, work out equipment and did I mention a shower? I felt human again. I felt like I was part of a community. Christy was very kind to me and invited me to a beach BBQ. My 1st ever. I love her dearly. She just recently graduated from nursing school. (2016) Because of Christy and this fitness center, I was now only a “semi-outsider” . During this time I met an old friend named John. He and I were dedicated dancers at a place in San Jose call the Starlight Ballroom. I was a volunteer for a volunteer lunch for Grey Bears and when I saw him, I reached. We shared some stories and caught up on our lives. He was very instrumental in helping me find the senior housing centers. Due to the long nights of no sleep and being on the lookout all night, I was not of sound mind. Not realizing it, I was suffering from sleep deprivation. John was guardian angel who drove me to the different senior housing properties and offices and helped me get connected, filled out paperwork and gave me encouragement. I am forever grateful to him.
June 2015: After living in my car for nearly 3.5 months in Santa Cruz I came back to live in the lovely shed in Placerville. Allergy season was over and I needed to get out of my car. PT Cruiser’s are great but difficult to sleep in.
Back in Placerville, I continued to find demo jobs and in June 2015 landed a job with Vita Mix. In August I started doing demo’s for Costco all over No. CA. I was only on the job 2.5 days when I was assigned to full road show. I worked 10 to 12 hrs a day, for 4 to 21 days in a row. I lost my job in December. My fault, but won’t go into that story at this time.
December 2015: Just as this tragedy happened my daughter and her family moved from Placerville to a 2 story 5 bedroom home, with a pool and 3 car garage in Fair Oaks. I was back in my car. My life was turned upside down. I had several jobs lined up but without a stable roof over my head and now all my things back in boxes and no place to shower or use a bathroom or a way to get organize the stress overtook me. I got deathly sick. My dear and best friend Lynn insisted I come to her house. I was so sick I lay in bed for 5 days. Then I left, but a few weeks later I was sick again. Again she took care of me. All hopes of work were gone. I was too weak and too sick. I couldn’t get the quality food I needed or the rest. I was a little sad. I began to make plans to go to Ecuador. I had friends and an adopted family I knew I could stay with. I could not stay in Sac and deal with the allergies. I would go to Ecuador, then return to live in my car in Santa Cruz.
February - March 2016: A friend insisted that I help out a friend of hers by pet/house sitting in the Colfax area. I agreed but was worried I would be caught in the allergy season and get deathly ill. As it turned out the pollen was subdued by the extra rain that spring. Once Buz and Nancy returned from their 3 week trip to Europe, I went to Ecuador for 6 weeks. My car was packed and ready for my return where once again I was going to car camp in Santa Cruz until I found something better. Just as I was ready for my return to the US, Buz and Nancy invited me to stay with them. This was a blessing. I was and am still very grateful for a clean warm fully functional separate and private mother-in-law quarters that I lived in. I started a garden in some old pots, helped clean up the yards, helped with landscaping, and watched over their place as they were able to plan various trips. In June 2016, a year after putting my name on wait list for senior housing in Santa Cruz I received a letter to come in for an interview.
October 2016: I MOVED INTO MY OWN APARTMENT in Santa Cruz 1110 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz 95060
Within a month of moving, I began work as a colon hydrotherapist for Mary. I worked one week in November started just after the election, then I returned to Colfax to complete my commitment to Buz and Nancy to work for them until the 1st of the year. This was my way to thank them for being so kind and generous to me. They gave me a clean, safe, comfortable home to live in. Without this stability I would never have been able meet the grueling demands of documents and paperwork required to obtain the apartment in Santa Cruz. And an update: Breaking news, I have been invited to work for yet another therapist in Santa Cruz. I could not be happier. : )
November 2016: My dreams. I want to share with you my dream for a new clinic in Scotts Valley. I don’t know if any one will ever read this posting on my web site, but just in case someone does, I would like to share with you what I would like to create.
Imagine a Victoria Style home. In it would be a lovely reception room where clients meet get to know one another and become friends. In each of my previous clinics, (which were in my home) the reception room was a living room. I introduced everyone and encouraged them to communicate and share with one another. As time went on many became friends, sharing information they learned from me and other sources. We created a community. I hope to have a lovely kitchen. One where I can teach and show clients how to make green smoothies, almond milk, juices and simple raw food recipes. I love Kangen water and want to share the water with everyone, as well as do demonstrations to show why this water is so special.
In one of the rooms, I want to set up a LiveO2 Oxygen system with a stationary bike. This treatment would be easily taught to my clients giving them ownership of their therapy and the ability to share and teach their friends how to use it.
Another room would be set up for Dark field microscopy - This would be a system that would help the client see what it in their living blood and together we could put a program to help improve their health. This evaluation gives a clear and precise view into their own life and offers indisputable information that they can use to make better choices regarding their life style and health choices.
I would also have a room designated for colon hydrotherapy. The Libbe, an open colonic system. This room would have its own adjoining bathroom.
I am a strong believer in the Far-Infrared sauna. There would be a room designated for this with an adjoining bathroom compete with a shower and a resting bench made of leather so clients could lie down after using the sauna.
A final room would be designed to house an endless pool. This would be a salt water pool compete with a changing room, toilet and simple shower. The pool would have a tread mill system installed in the bottom for clients to walk or run. Clients could get exercise unlike a gym extremely low impact. As I get older I dream of being able to swim and exercise in a pool and not have to deal with a gym and all that goes on with that kind of facility. I am sure there are many others who would appreciate this service. It would be a stand-alone service and private.
The upstairs would be furnished bedrooms, perhaps no more than 3 with adjoining bathrooms. Those who might need to stay here while going through a 3 week program would have that option. I am not a hospital and cannot provide medical services, but for those who are fully functional there would be space for them. Many people get plastic surgery, this facility help in their recovery and give them a safe place to heal away from family and friends. Doing the treatments such as colonics, the Live O2 system and the endless pool would be a great benefit to them.
AND for myself???? I have a design for a tiny house. I would hope that this property would have enough room for a tiny house to be placed in the back yard. I would also like to have a porch, a garden and my own endless pool. This would give me my privacy andprovide a space all to myself. The main house would be a clinic and retreat. I will feel more comfortable in my own tiny home. Its only big enough for 1, one. Just me.
This is my dream, my dharma, my karma. I have come to serve. Not to compete, not to in-large my ego, not to gain fame or riches, only to bring this work forward as my destiny calls. I believe God is the Doer, I am His servant and He works through me. I have never taken credit for His work and if this clinic comes to fruition then it will be because of Him. Omm Peace Amen